The California Supreme Court disbarred Jon Alexander, former DA of Del Norte County, on Wednesday. The decision confirms recommendations last year by the State Bar Court, which ruled that Alexander violated ethical and legal standards while serving as DA.
In a notable transgression, Alexander questioned a defendant charged with drug crimes without the presence of her attorney. That violated her Sixth Amendment protections under the U.S. Constitution.
Trial judge Lucy Armendariz wrote that Alexander “did not comprehend his special duty as a prosecutor to promote justice and seek the truth, and not merely to convict.” She added that “(Alexander) clearly and convincingly committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption.”
That case was first reported by The Sacramento Bee in 2012.
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Alexander was removed from his post after his right to practice was suspended by the Bar Court. A Bar spokesperson said no one at the agency could recall another elected, sitting DA being removed from office because of corrupt practices.
The decision marks the latest controversy in a legal career that has veered between highs and lows. Alexander, a former methamphetamine addict, stopped using drugs and was elected DA in 2010 on an anti-meth platform. During his tenure he assisted in the recovery of other addicts.
In an email, Alexander called his disbarment “disheartening, alarming and offensive to common notions of decency, fair play and justice.” He said the Bar “saw a former addict as an easy message target, while disregarding and disenfranchising the hundreds of persons from Del Norte County and throughout California who wrote and testified at their own time and expense to my integrity and good works.”
Bar spokeswoman Laura Ernde said that Alexander, now working in social services with the Yurok Tribe in northwest California, can request reinstatement after five years, although such petitions are rare. He would have to prove his “rehabilitation and moral fitness to practice,” she said.
Call The Bee’s Charles Piller, (916) 321-1113. Follow him on Twitter @cpiller.